Obituary: James Boyce

James Boyce, politician: born Paisley 6 September 1947; Member (Labour) Sheffield City Council 1984-92; MP (Labour) for Rotherham 1992-94; twice married (two sons); died Rotherham 25 January 1994.

THE SAD and sudden death of James Boyce has deprived Parliament of one of its most colourful and humorous characters. Honest and outspoken, he was liked by those who had met him and loved by those who knew him.

Jimmy Boyce was born in Paisley, Scotland, in 1947. His early years, many of which were spent working in a foundry, helped very much to shape his commitment to socialism. He was not a revolutionary but proud to be a rebel. His cause was to make life better for people: he despised unemployment, poverty and those who caused it. As a trade unionist in the Amalgamated Engineering Union (AEU) and as a Sheffield City Councillor he worked tirelessly for his people and against 'the nightmare of Thatcherism'.

Never one to rest on his laurels, he used all his skills from his studies for his Industrial and Trade Union diploma as a means of pushing forward for progress on the things he believed in.

It was a very proud moment for him when he was elected MP for Rotherham at the last election and an honour to serve his people at a national level. He was a determined working-class politician and warmed to the banter of the chamber and he was at home giving the Government a hard time from the Labour benches. Every time the Prime Minister got to his feet Boyce would shout, just at the right moment, 'Resign'; and he meant it.

He lived and breathed his socialism in earnest and during the past few weeks of illness he missed his work very much. The politician was hard and unrelenting towards those who used others. The man was kind, warm and considerate, his repartee was instant and reflected his tough upbringing and early working life. He was a gregarious man, who loved life and liked nothing better than being surrounded by other people, and his presence will be missed by many of his colleagues at the House. A proud Scot, but an adopted Yorkshireman, he amused us all with his affectionate attempts at a Yorkshire accent.

Parliament was given a hint of what to expect from the man, when, after dealing with the Government's record on poverty, unemployment, privatisation and tax handouts to the rich, he wound up his maiden speech in May 1992 with 'I shall return to this subject at every opportunity, and every time that they fail to make life better for the people of Rotherham; I will accuse them and they will stand indicted.' And he did.

Jimmy Boyce's determined and conscientious approach to his work was very much shaped by the many trials of his past. He clearly had so much to offer as an MP and many will share a great feeling of regret that he should have been robbed of success so soon after he had obtained it, and without having the chance of fully realising what he wanted to achieve.

(Photograph omitted)

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Geography Teacher

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: We require a teacher of Geogr...

HR Assistant / Human Resources Assistant

£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: An HR Assistant / Human Resources Ass...

Talent Community Coordinator

£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Talent Community Coordinator is nee...

Business Support - Banking - Halifax - £250 pd

£150 - £250 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - HR - Halifax - £150 - £250...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little